Following exposure to radiological or other hazardous materials, decontamination efforts often focus on the people directly involved, but other concerns also must be considered - the use of weapons and/or possible harm to animals, for example. Pennsylvania's Lehigh County has developed a best practices approach to ensuring that response teams are prepared to cope with non-routine decontamination situations.
Similarities can be drawn between two nuclear disasters that occurred 27 years apart, in different countries. Dealing with a nuclear disaster in the United States or elsewhere requires having accurate information - which must be delivered in time to help emergency responders deal with potentially major consequences. As long as nuclear plants exist, so does the potential threat of a meltdown.
In a passenger aircraft, there is nowhere to run when something suddenly goes wrong. Which is the primary reason that U.S. air marshals are now flying, strategically seated, on many domestic and international flights to thwart a possible terrorist threat against the aircraft and its passengers. The air marshals are armed - but their principal weapons are excellent training and continued situational awareness.
The U.S. Federal Highway Administration concluded in 2007 that there is a weakness in the infrastructure's ability to handle the movement of people following a natural or manmade disaster. The 2013 Boston Marathon bombings serve as a prime example of how transportation facilities and government agencies manage complex incidents that have wide-reaching effects.
Even multiple isolated incidents may not be enough to raise a red flag that intellectual property theft is being planned. By ensuring that each incident is reported through the proper channels and analyzed along with other reported incidents, agencies and corporations may be able to thwart potential cyber crimes before vital information is jeopardized.
The U.S. information security and technology communities are no longer solely responsible for protecting critical infrastructure from cyber threats - emergency managers also play an increasingly important role in that task. Increasing the overall level of cyber preparedness therefore requires closer coordination, information sharing, and effective planning, as well as frequent assessments.
Some biological agents - anthrax and ricin, for example - can be used as weapons against human targets; others specifically attack animals and food crops. Both types of attack, though, can have devastating effects on the economy and on the morale and overall wellbeing of a nation. To mitigate these threats, the public and private sectors must cooperate to recognize and close existing gaps.
With thousands of farms and millions of cattle scattered across the United States, regulators, dairy producers, and veterinarians strive to protect the nation's food supply, including the milk supply chain from cow to breakfast table. Emergency preparedness planners, therefore, must work with agricultural suppliers to protect milk and other food products.
Water, water everywhere, and all of it fit to drink. Reservoirs supply drinking water to communities throughout the United States. Protecting such a large area, including the surrounding land, poses many challenges and raises red flags when unauthorized visitors come too close.
Implementing the guidance provided by Presidential Directive 8 can lead to organizational and procedural challenges - while also working toward greater national preparedness. The first step in implementation is to identify threats and hazards and define the risk as it pertains to a particular jurisdiction. The next step is to determine and validate all potential capabilities currently available.